2022 record: 62-100, tied for fourth in National League Central
Offseason headlines: Pittsburgh turned back the clock, signing OF Andrew McCutchen to a one-year deal. The 36-year-old might not be the MVP-caliber player he once was during his first stint with the Pirates, but the feel-good addition certainly can't hurt a team that has finished fourth or fifth in the division in each of the past six seasons. By also bringing in 43-year-old LHP Rich Hill -- the oldest pitcher in the majors -- and 1B/C Carlos Santana, Pittsburgh made it clear that it's relying on its veterans to steer the young talent on the roster in the right direction. There was no shortage of trade rumors surrounding OF Bryan Reynolds, who was an All-Star in 2021 and mashed a career-high 27 homers last season, but the Pirates were able to keep him around while simultaneously avoiding any other major losses. Pittsburgh did deal 2B/SS Kevin Newman to the Reds, but should have no problem finding his replacement in the near future considering some of the Pirates' most prized prospects are middle infielders.
Spring storylines: With a pitching staff that has struggled to keep opponents off the board over the past two seasons, Pittsburgh is going to need some heavy hitters in its lineup, and manager Derek Shelton is hoping outfielder Jack Suwinski can rise to the occasion. Suwinski hit just .202 with 114 strikeouts in 106 major league games last season, but flashed power, hitting 19 home runs. Even without an outstanding spring, Shelton said he is heavily considering naming him one of the team's starting outfielders. Mitch Keller is slated to be the Opening Day starter, but fellow right-hander Roansy Contreras could challenge him for the No. 1 spot in the rotation at some point this season. Contreras, 23, was strong during his time with the club in 2022 and is a young arm that has the chance to establish himself as a franchise stalwart in the coming years.
Young guns: Losing Newman might turn out to be for the best, Endy Rodriguez or Nick Gonzales could get their chance in the majors. MLB.com has Rodriguez as the Pirates' second-ranked prospect, while Gonzales sits at No. 5. Both are expected to arrive to the majors in 2023, and both turned heads in the Grapefruit League. Rodriguez hit .412 in 17 at-bats before being optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, and Gonzales was batting .391 through 23 at-bats before being reassigned to minor league camp.
Fall feeling: Pittsburgh hasn't seen the postseason since 2015, and there's little reason to believe that will change this year. Developing their young talent will likely be the Pirates' main concern, and if done right, could lay down the foundation for a playoff run by the end of the decade.
Odds, even: You might want to consider taking your money elsewhere if you had planned on investing in Pittsburgh, which sits at +600 on FanDuel to reach the 80-win mark. DraftKings has the Pirates' win total at 68.5, with the over at -105 odds and the under at -115.
--Field Level Media